By Suleiman Umaru
Former President Goodluck Jonathan, who was said to have worked assiduously with his loyalists against Diri Douye ,a Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the people’s Democratic Party, PDP, Candidate, in the November 16, 2019, governorship election , in Bayelsa state may have shot himself on the leg.
This is because the Supreme Court has diven the nod to the Professor Mahmud Yakubu led Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to withdraw the Certificate of Return , given to David Lyon, the All Progressive Congress, APC, governor elect , which could have qualified him to be sworn in today, Friday, February 14, 2020, at Yenogoa, the state Capital.
The apex Court was said to have also ordered the Commissionto issue a fresh Certificate of Return to Diri, the PDP, flag bearer who should be sworn in as the governor of the state. Indeed, it was bad news, not only to the former First Family but also to the state House Assembly members and other PDP elected Lawmakers at the National level who had decamped to the APC, in solidarity with the former President and temipre Sylva, a former governor of the state and minister of state, and now Petroleum Resources minister who were said to be instrumental to Lyon victory in the Bayelsa governorship election.
Note that the former President had reconciled with Sylva, his estranged former political ally, to work for the victory of Lyon, the APC , Candidate. This is evident , going by the performance of the PDP and its governorship Candidate in a former President’s home state, as shown by the result announced by the INEC, Returning officer . the PDP performance in Ogbia, the former President’s home local government Council took many by surprise because of the protest vote against the PDP Candidate which led to the party dismal performance in the Council. Diri, the PDP, Candidate, was said to have polled 13,763 to Lyon, the APC, Candidate’s 58,016 votes in Ogbia local government Area.
. The voting pattern was the same at Brass, Ekeremor,Nembe,southern Ijaw, and Yenagoa local government Areas where the APC , trounced the PDP beyond measure. The PDP, Candidate had lost with very wide margins in Nembe local government alone. The APC , governorship Candidate, was said to have scored 83,041 to 874 votes scored by Diri, showing a high level rigging in the Area. The PDP, governorship Candidate, was said to have won only in two local government Areas of the state: Kolokuma/Opukuma and Sagbama, leaving six, to the APC.
This may have informed why Adams Oshiomhole, a Labour activist and former governor of Edo state and now National Chairman of the ruling APC, who had rejected the Supreme Court ruling on the Bayelsa state governorship election to say that going by the results of the election that was announced by INEC in the state ‘’nobody was qualified to be sworn as the governor of the state’’.
An aggrieved Oshiomhole had told those that cares to listen that ‘’if Lyon, the party governor elect in the oil rich state could not be sworn in as governor and as the Candidate who scored the highest number of votes spread in the eight local government Areas of the state , it simply implies that Friday, February 14, 2020, there will be no government in Bayelsa state’’.
He noted that not even the PDP has met the Constitutional requirement for its Candidate , Diri, to be sworn in as the governor of the state. According to him, the PDP Candidate does not have 25% of the total Lawful total votes cast in two-thirds of the eight local Areas of the state, an indication that he did not merit to be sworn in as the governor of Byelsa state.
Political watchers believe that that there is no way the APC, which was the Opposition party could have made an in-road into the state without the endorsement of the APC Candidate by the former President.
Seriake Dickson, the PDP governor of the state, who many were expecting to hand over to Lyon, the APC, Candidate, as the next governor, may have been calm since INEC, announced the state governorship election result, declaring Lyon, the APC, Candidate to be the winner of the November 16, 2019, election in the state. Armed with the forged Certificates of Degi Eremieyo, Lyon’s running mate which qualifies him to be anointed as the Lyon ‘s running mate, he knew the duo are going nowhere.
As a lawyer, he Knew that the Eremieyo baggage will be infectious to lyon becoming the governor of the state. Moreso, the PDP leadership in the state had kept it a closely guided secret and, had waited , for the opportunity to drag the duo to Court to claim the party mandate. The opportunity came when the Electoral Umpire announced the overall result, which had shown Lyon, the APC, Candidate as the winner of the election. The case which had started from the state Election governorship Election Petition Tribunal had dragged on to the Supreme Court.
The recent ruling of the five-man Supreme Court Justices, led by Mary Odili, a Justice of the Supreme Court and wife of Peter Odili, a Medical Doctor and former governor of Rivers state which was that was set up by Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, to look into the Bayelsa state governorship election petition, speaks volume.
In a unanimous decision, by the Justices, on Thursday, February 13, 20120, at Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, that favoured Diri, it became a source of relief to Dickson, who was said to have prepred his hand over note, packed his bag and baggage, in readiness to leave the Government House for Lyon.
Going by the tradition of a Hand –over from one government to another both at the state and the national level, Lyon, the Bayelsa state , APC, governor elect, was said to be attending the inauguration dress rehearsal to prepare his mind for the big event when the bad news was broken to him. The news was said to have affected the party elaborate preparation for the event.The Value News learnt that he had reached out to the party leadership at the state and national level as he could not fathom out what was actually happening but told to be calm.
Political Observers believe that if the PDP loyalysts who were in custody of the Lyon running mate forged Certificate had opened up at that initial state and made it a Campaign issue, it would have worked against Diri and the PDP as Lyon and the APC, elders, may have been forced to replace him with a nother Candidate. This may have informed why the PDP Camp both at the state and the national level are jubilating over the Court ruling on the Bayelsa election.
Atiku Abubakar, a former Vice President and Presidential Candidate of the Opposition PDP, in the last general election may have set the ball rolling when he expressed joy at the apex Court declaration over the Bayelsa election, stressing that ‘’it is a confirmation of the peoples mandate freely given to Diri, the PDP, Candidate. He is optimistic that the incoming Administration will transform the state.
Insiders informed the Magazine that the former President may have given the people a cause to worry over the PDP loss of the state at the last November governorship election as he has started romancing with President Muammadu Buhari, of the ruling APC. Recall that he had visited the Katsina state born Nigerian President at the State House recently, where the duo were said to have held a closed door discussion.
Dame Patience Jonathan , the wife and a one-time First Lady, had followed the former president’s foot step as she was said to have opened a channel of Communication with Hajia Aisha Buhari, the First Lady. The recent gathering of all the First Ladies across the country both present and the former, to mark the 10th year remembrance of late Maryan Babangida, a one –time First Lady and wife of retired General Ibrahim Babangida, a formermilitary President, which was said to have been organised by Aisha Babangida, the daughter, with the support of the current First Lady has exposed the Cordial relationship between two First Families as the duo had private talks.
In spite of the fact, that the APC , leadership and their legal Team, are working round the clock to look at the windows that exist in the Law in order to take steps to ensure that the’’ will of the people of Bayelsa state are not undermined on the altars of technicalities’’, Nyesom Wike, the PDP , governor of Rivers state, who has become a thorn on the rulng APC, has called on the Federal government to warn Oshiomhole, to ‘’stop making inflammatory Statements capable of destabilising the country’’.
The sacking of lyon ,the APC, governor elect, a few hours before his inauguration makes him the first governor elect to be sacked by the CSupreme Court without testing the governorship Seat. The first peron to be sacked by the Court was Emeka Ihedioha, the PDP , governor of Imo state , after about seven months on the saddle. He was replaced by Hope Uzodinma, a Senator of Federal Republic of Nigeria and the APC, Candidate , at the last March , governorship election in the state.
The case of Lyon, the sacked APC, governor elect is more pitiable, as he saw the governorship Seat in the Government but House but could not Seat on it. This is another sad story of late Moshood Kashamawole, Abiola, a one-time Presidential Candidate of the defunct Social Democratic Party, SDP, who had won the 1993, Presidential election that was nullified by the then self- styled military President , retired General Babangida and his military clique in the Supreme Military Council, SMC.
Abiola ‘s case was understable. Late Obafemi Awolowo, the Ogun state born politician, had placed a curse on him that he will see the Presiential Seat but will not seat on it. The late sage may have placed the curse on him because of the role he played, using the defunct Concord Newspaper, founded by him and his enormous wealth to ensure that he did not win the 179 election, which was keenly contested in the Court before it was finally settled by the Supreme Court, which gave victory to late Shehu Shagari, of the then National Party of Nigeria, NPN.